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The Troughton Years

Video review by Phillip J Gray

I had been looking for this video for quite a while and I finally found it not long ago behind the sports videos at Whitcoulls in Christchurch. While Patrick Troughton is not my favourite Doctor I enjoyed his stories which have been screened recently on TVNZ, and I rushed over to a friend's to watch The Troughton Years.

It is a very interesting video with some wonderful clips and episodes. The regeneration scene was very good as were the clips from the post-1969 stories that Pat Troughton worked on. The main focus of the video was the narration by Jon Pertwee introducing the single episodes from lost stories. I enjoyed the narration (and thrilled to hear Jon every time he said 'Doctor Who' in his delightful voice) although some of it seemed rather contrived, especially the parts where Jon told of his water pistol fights with Patrick at American conventions. The episodes were a mixed bunch. The Abominable Snowmen Episode 2 was fantastic and it is a pity that the rest of the story has been lost as it was very suspenseful and well acted. I had my first sighting of Deborah Watling and was quite impressed - no screaming to be heard!

I also enjoyed The Enemy of the World because of the double role played by Troughton and the good acting from the other actors - I really liked the character of Fariah. However this was not one of the most interesting episodes that could have been chosen as it was a human-dominated story. Consequently watching Episode 3, it was a bit hard to pick up on what had gone previously.

The final episode from the Troughton era was Pat's penultimate story, Episode 2 of The Space Pirates. This was a poor choice in my opinion as it reflects none of the good things about the Troughton era. The only good thing about this episode were the space flight sequences which were rather well done. The acting was poor (especially Milo Clancey who was rather bad) and the characterisations of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe were not at their best either. They were hardly in it and it ended with Zoe screaming 'You murderer!' in a silly, childish voice. This episode was not an inspired choice and badly lets down the other episodes which are vastly superior.

So on the whole The Troughton Years was a mixed bunch, spoilt by The Space Pirates episode which I rather wish had been lost instead of the other episodes of The Abominable Snowmen. It would have been much better to have substituted it with an episode from The Invasion showing both Zoe and the Cybermen, the latter really being the showpiece monsters of the Troughton years. Finally although Jon Pertwee referred to Patrick Troughton in the past tense throughout the video there was never any mention of when or where Pat Troughton died.

This item appeared in TSV 29 (July 1992).